Zahawi begins the process of his art through musings and pencil sketches. He notes that often these ideas come to him in his dreams, forcing him to wake up late at night to put the designs to paper so as to capture them in their most accurate and vivid form. Often these sketches, each unique in their own right, are combined and refined to eventually come to life through his art.
Glyn Uzzell observed "All of the sculptures are coiled rather than thrown, thus allowing a greater variety of shape than had the potters’ wheel been utilized." Indeed, the coiling method enabled Zahawi to create irregular forms with superimposed volume and with angles as sharp as 45°, allowing for the construction of very large forms that can reach up to 7 feet high with a diameter as wide as 4 feet. As each inch is built, coil by coil, similar to how one builds a house, the final product becomes a one of a kind form that is rarely repeated.
Zahawi never stopped employing new designs and unique lines to celebrate the many influences of his life. Using speciality craft tools and unbounded creativity, he was able to give each of ceramic pieces a unique character and flare, bringing to life his deep admiration for African, Islamic, Middle Eastern and European abstract art.
Once the art is finished and left to dry, it is then fired at about 1000°c (biscuit firing) and is ready to be stained. Uzzell noted that "Zahawi rejects the use of glazes, feeling that they can disguise the artist’s intention with a superficially gloss. All of his works are stained in the natural colors of earth to show the direct presence of the artist’s hand." Overtime Zahawi concocted his own recipe of wax, turpentine, and minerals powder of brown, black, green, and blue hues that serve to accent the original colors of the clay (red, white, or gray).
Reliefs allowed Zahawi to move from pedestal to wall. "Here the forms abandon the symmetry and balance of free-standing objects to assume a more flowing interaction of shapes." However, reliefs are slightly more complicated than sculptures. The pieces have to be completed as quickly as possible, so that they do not dry and contract in size. Once Zahawi cut the relief into square pieces, the pieces are fired individually and reassembled on a large wooden surface. Often the pieces do not align perfectly but this adds a unique and creative element to the final finish.